“I like to find special, off-the-beaten-track locations where they can still experience a country and its culture.” That’s one way Kimberly Hooker, Fugazi Travel Agency, Inc., keeps her well-traveled clients coming back for more.
“I believe I represent the next generation of well-educated, discerning travelers who want to travel to more unique destinations and want unique experiences with top-notch guides, hotels and services. I have had success in creating itineraries for these types of travelers because I am that type of traveler, and I want them to have the best experience possible.”
Toward that end, “I also like to add small details to an itinerary, like historical references, books and / or articles to help deepen their knowledge of a place.” She also tries to add special VIP touches such as individual notes that are received upon arrival “and other unique hospitality amenities.”
A native of Lafayette, CA (a suburb of San Francisco), Hooker grew up in a travel-oriented environment. Her father owned a flight charter business and sold travel to put himself through law school at the University of California, Berkeley. “My mother was a student there and used his services to plan a trip to Europe. He followed her throughout Europe, and eventually they got married. After he passed the bar, they left on an eight-month trip around the world for their honeymoon. They continued their travels and began to take their children with them, including me,” she tells us.
Flash forward through a job in the insurance services industry, marriage (23 years and counting) and full-time motherhood, which put Hooker’s thoughts of a career in the travel industry on hold. All the while, however, “I would continue to plan and take trips as often as I could,” including ones with her children, she says.
She gained a reputation with friends and peers as a travel planner and, “I found that I was sharing my itineraries more and more with them. It dawned on me that I could transition into this industry as a travel consultant and that this was the perfect job for me,” Hooker says.
It was also the perfect time for her to work full time as a travel consultant because “I am entering the next phase of my life as an empty-nester, as are many of my friends and peers, who now have the time and means to start traveling more often, and for longer periods of time.” She joined the staff at Fugazi’s San Francisco office in spring 2019, and in the short time since has grown to be regarded as a Trendsetter for the agency.
“Fugazi Travel is celebrating its 150-year anniversary and is one of the few remaining independently owned travel companies in the industry. They have strong relationships with high-end DMCs, hoteliers, and other partnerships that have been wonderful for me to meet and work with,” Hooker says.
She has been exploring the niche of women-only group travel — her group has visited Japan, China and Argentina so far — as well as travel for major birthday and anniversary celebrations.
“There is more opportunity and desire to plan special trips around major life milestones amongst my clients and peers. They are more inclined to work with someone who they know, share the same high standards of travel with, have the same discerning tastes, and who they trust,” Hooker says. “I have been and will be that person for them.”